The discovery predicted uranium in other sedimentary basins, and Love went on to find it. In the autumn of i953, he and two amateurs, all working independently, found uranium in the Gas Hills-in the Wind River Basin, twelve miles from Love Ranch. By his description: “Gas Hills attracted everybody and his dog. It was Mecca for weekend prospectors. They swarmed like maggots on a carcass. There was claim jumping. There were fistfights, shootouts. Mechanics and clothing salesmen were instant millionaires.” As it happened, he made those zakelijke energie vergelijken remarks one summery afternoon on the crest of the Gas Hills, where fifty open-pit uranium mines were round about us, and in the low middle ground of the view to the north were Muskrat Creek and Love Ranch. The pits were roughly circular, generally half a mile in diameter, and five hundred feet deep. Some four hundred feet of overburden had been stripped
off to get down to the ore horizons. The place was an unearthly mess. War damage could not look worse, and in a sense that is what it was. “If you had to do this with a pick and shovel, it would take you quite a while,” Love said. The pits were scattered across a hundred square miles. We picked up some sooty black uraninite. It crumbled easily in the hand. I asked him if it was dangerously radioactive. “What is ‘dangerously radioactive’?” he said. “We have no real standards. We don’t know. All I can say is the cancer rate here is very high. There are four synergistic zakelijke energie elements in the Gas Hills: uranium, molybdenum, selenium, and arsenic. They are more toxic together than individually. You can’t just cover the tailings and forget about it. Those things are bad for the environment. They get into groundwater, surface water. The mines are below the water table, so they’re pumping water from the uranium horizon to the surface. There has been a seven-hundred-per-cent increase of uranium in Muskrat Creek at our ranch.” We could see in a sweeping glance-from the ranch southwest to Green Mountain-the whole of the route he had taken as a boy to cut pine and cedar for corral poles and fence posts. An hour before, we had looked in at the ranch, where most of those posts were still in use-gnarled and twisted, but standing and not rotted. From John Love’s early years there, when he slept in a cutbank of the creek, the ranch had belonged only to him and his family.